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Iranian Jews in Israel
Total population
200,000[1] - 250,000[2]
Regions with significant populations
Kfar Saba, Netanya, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv
Languages
Hebrew (Main language for all generations);
Older generation: Persian
Religion
Judaism

Iranian Jews in Israel refers to the community of Iranian Jews who immigrated to Ottoman Palestine, Mandate Palestine, and later the State of Israel. Iranian Jews in Israel number over 135,000 and most of them are Israeli born.[3]

History

Further information: Babylonian Captivity

The first Persian Jews to settle in Ottoman Palestine were from Shiraz. They left in 1815 in a caravan, making their way to the port of Bushehr and from there boarded a ship to Basra in southern Iraq. From there, they traveled by land to Baghdad and Damascus. Those who survived the difficult journey settled in Tzfat and Jerusalem, establishing the nucleus of the Iranian Jewish community in these cities.[4]

After the establishment of the State of Israel, immigration increased significantly. In 1952 under the Israeli mission, Operation Cyrus, approximately 30,000 Iranian Jews immigrated to Israel.[5] In addition, many Iranian Jews immigrated to Israel after the Iranian revolution in 1979.[6] Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution an additional 10,000 to 15,000 Iranian Jews immigrated directly to Israel, many others migrated first to the United States or Europe and then to Israel, mainly out of fear of the new Ayatollahs regime but also from lack of familiarity with Israel (Israel, in Iran, was seen as a country of infidels and atheists, a terrible thing to be in the Middle East; while most of the Iranian Jews are religious or traditionalists).[7] Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, over 134,000 Iranians have settled in Israel.[8] Some fled after a prominent Iranian Jew was murdered after being accused of "Zionism."[9]

In the 1950s the Israeli treatment of Iranian Jews was similar to the Israeli treatment of other Jews from the Middle Eastern and North African region.[10]

Israel continues to encourage the remaining Jews in Iran (less than 9,000) to immigrate since Israel sees the Jews of Iran as hostages of the Iranian regime, against Israel. In 2007 Israel offered monetary incentives to Jews in Iran to encourage Iranian Jewish immigration to Israel.[11] Jews of Iranian descent in Israel are considered part of the Mizrahim.[12]

Kol Israel transmits daily radio broadcasts to Iran in the Persian language and Menashe Amir, an Iranian Jew, hosts a talk show that draws callers from Iran.[6]

Notable Israelis of Iranian descent

Rita Kleinstein, an Israeli pop-star, of Persian descent
Rita Kleinstein, an Israeli pop-star, of Persian descent

See also

References

  1. ^ "Iranian Jews Living in U.S. Have Complex Feelings About Mideast Crisis". Fox News. August 7, 2006.
  2. ^ Why are people going to Iran?. Jpost.com. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
  3. ^ Jews, by country of origin and age
  4. ^ Jadīd Al-Islām: The Jewish "new Muslims" of Meshhed, Raphael Patai
  5. ^ Ram, Haggai (2008). "Caught Between Orientalism and Aryanism, Exile and Homeland: The Jews of Iran in Zionist/Israeli Imagination". Studies in Culture, Polity, and Identities. 8 (1): 86.
  6. ^ a b Torn loyalties of Israel's Iranian Jews
  7. ^ Ram, Haggai (2008). "Caught Between Orientalism and Aryanism, Exile and Homeland: The Jews of Iran in Zionist/Israeli Imagination". Studies in Culture, Polity, and Identities. 8 (1): 95.
  8. ^ http://www.cbs.gov.il/reader/shnaton/templ_shnaton_e.html?num_tab=st02_24x&CYear=2009
  9. ^ "A Reminder of How Iran Treats Its Jewish Citizens".
  10. ^ Goldstein, Judith (1998). Iranian Ethnicity in Israel: The Performance of Identity. New Jersey: Rutgers University. p. 388.
  11. ^ Tait, Robert (7 Dec 2007). "Iran's Jews Reject Cash Offer to Move to Israel". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 Apr 2013.
  12. ^ Statistical Abstract of Israel, 2009, CBS. "Table 2.24 – Jews, by country of origin and age" (PDF). Retrieved 22 March 2010.